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How to Evaluate Employees: A Performance Review Checklist

Kate William

9 min read

Did you know that 89% of HR leaders said that ongoing peer feedback and check-ins are critical for successful outcomes? Don’t Google this fact. Take our word for it; it’s true. If you want to get better ROI, work engagement, and high employee retention, it’s crucial to provide constructive feedback. However, you can’t give accurate feedback without an employee performance review. You’ve got to keep track of their work performance, productivity, skillset to understand their abilities and to evaluate them periodically. 

But how to do that? How can you closely review your employees’ performance even in this post-pandemic world? Well, relax! Here we’ve crafted a performance review checklist for you to evaluate employee performance. Using this checklist, you can start reviewing their activity immediately. Sounds enticing? So, without further ado, let’s get started…

What is the Employee Performance Review?

A performance review is an official assessment of employees, in which an HR team or a manager evaluates an employee’s overall work performance. This review is meant for identifying the strengths and abilities of an employee. With performance review, you can offer feedback, set goals, and standards for their work performance. More and more companies are currently focusing on conducting weekly, monthly, and quarterly performance reviews to measure employee performance.

When you accurately conduct performance reviews, it gives you a chance to set expectations from them. You can gather information about them to determine pay raises, employee benefits, loyalty programs, and layoffs. Also, employee evaluation helps to understand where you can implement changes to improve the organization. For example, Adobe, one of the most famous software giants, implemented regular check-ins instead of annual check-ins for their employees. Other companies like Netflix, GE, and Google also focus on employee performance to maintain growth. 

The Purpose of Employee Performance Review

The employee performance review’s main purpose is to enhance employee satisfaction, measure their performance, and improve the organizational culture. Also, some other goals of a performance review are:

  • Employee evaluation helps to understand the strengths and weaknesses of employees’ performance.
  • Your organization will have the opportunity to know what to expect from a specific employee.
  • Employee performance evaluation helps to provide valuable feedback to improve future performances.
  • It helps to plan for the future of the organization and each employee related to the organization.
  • Employee performance appraisal will give promotions, pay raises, and bonuses based on different metrics like employee engagement, performance, time management, and productivity.

Employee Performance Review in the Present Times 

Before the covid-19 crisis, an employee performance review was once in a while program in most organizations. However, during the pandemic, we have realized the value of mental health in the workplace. Now employers have to invest more effort and time in employees than ever. They have to frequently ask them about their work, health, and wellbeing. That’s why several companies like Facebook, Sprinklr, and SNI are increasing regular check-ins. In this post-pandemic era, employers can take specific steps to conduct performance reviews in a more empathetic way.

Be Compassionate: Whenever you interact with your employees, make sure to be compassionate. Regular performance reviews are essential but show empathy and understanding while conveying the feedback to them. Not just work performance, make sure to review their mental wellbeing. This will let them know that their mental health is a priority for your company. If needed, provide work flexibility to support them.

Embrace a Growth Mindset: Some employees may believe performance reviews focus on negative areas or can’t change their weaknesses. During a crisis, this kind of belief can develop a feeling of failure and inferiority. That’s why you should encourage your people to adopt a growth mindset. Emphasize the fact that employees can take steps or training to work on their weaknesses. Also, be compassionate with employees who cannot deliver expected results or fail to achieve a goal.

Check-in Regularly: Frequent communication with your employees is essential in the post-covid world. Instead of conducting the yearly reviews, check-in with them regularly. For instance, using survey tools, you can send them weekly surveys. Ask them about the challenges they face while working and provide them resources to overcome those challenges. 

So, yes! Employee performance reviews have changed a lot in the Coronavirus pandemic aftermath. Here we’ve provided an effective framework or checklist to evaluate your employees in these trying times. By following this performance review checklist step by step, you can identify your employees’ strengths, measure engagement, and productivity without any hassle. So, let’s scroll down, to know more…

The 8 Step Ultimate Employee Performance Review Checklist

1. Set a Clear Goal and Standard

Before you start evaluating your employees’ performance reviews, you have to develop a clear standard and goal. Based on the standard and the goal, you’ll evaluate their overall work performance. A clear performance standard defines what you’re looking for in an employee. If you want your employees to achieve some goal, you must show them how to accomplish that goal. And setting a standard will help your employees to understand their specific roles within your organization. Now, these standards apply to each employee who holds the same job role across the board. 

For instance, if your employee holds a salesperson position, you may set a standard to make $60,000 in sales per quarter. However, you must set an achievable performance standard for your employees. And a performance standard should relate to your employee’s job description or responsibility.

Like clear performance standards, every organization should tailor each employee’s specific goals. Goals will depend on the strengths and weaknesses of a particular employee. And it will help them to hone their skills and improve their weaknesses. Engage with each employee to understand their strengths and weaknesses and set goals based on that. For instance, a digital marketer’s goal might be to participate in a course and become a certified content marketer. 

Once you set the goals and standards for each employee, arrange a meeting, and share them with your entire team. This will help your employees know what you expect from them to receive an employee appraisal. 

2. Keep track of Your Employees

Throughout the employee journey, you have to keep track of your employees. You can create an employee assessment file or performance review log to keep all the records in one place. You can note down or keep records of memorable incidents, achievements, and pitfalls. Let’s say if you notice one of your employees was absent for two days without informing anyone, or maybe someone worked overnight to complete a project, you can record these events on your assessment file. You can give your constructive feedback at the year-end or monthly review if your employee performed well and praise them. And if they fail to match your expectations, make sure to provide them constructive criticism and encourage them to overcome their weaknesses in the future. 

Here’s a heads up: If one of your employees does something exceptionally great job on a certain work project, don’t wait for a year to share your feedback. Give immediate feedback to show them you care and notice their efforts. This act will let you maintain employee engagement within your organization. Especially during this post-pandemic era, you can be empathetic while providing feedback. As most employees face stress and anxiety, it’s crucial to check-in with your employees’ mental and emotional health.  

3. 360-degree Feedback

360-degree feedback is one of the most important ways to measure your employees’ performance. It helps employees to receive a performance review from managers, colleagues, and even customers. In short, it gives a holistic approach to their work performance. With 360 degrees feedback, you can improve your employees’ teamwork, leadership, collaboration, and time management skills. 

Here’s a 360 degree feedback survey created using SurveySparrow..

To create similar 360 degree feedback surveys or employee engagement surveys, you can create a free account on SurveySparrow.

The best part about conducting 360-degree reviews is improving self-awareness. It will give them proper insights into their strengths and better understand weaknesses. You may wonder, but organizations with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable than others. When you conduct regular performance appraisals for them, they’ll feel connected with your brand. Thus, they won’t hesitate to contribute more to your company’s growth.

SurveySparrow can help you out with 360-degree feedback. With SurveySparrow’s 360-degree feedback software, you can collect employee data, craft beautiful surveys, automation, and more features to effortlessly measure employee performance. Also, the feedback software will give you rich insights and review reports. With various filters like self-assessed, partially evaluated, report ready, evaluation complete, and report pending, track employee assessment status easily. Finally, don’t forget to share the review reports with the employees. Here you can brand the reports by personalizing them with your brand’s logo, color, fonts, etc. And as per Reboot, a brand’s signature color can increase brand recognition by 80%. Wonderful, isn’t it?

4. Organize Performance Reviews Regularly

Regular performance reviews and feedback will keep your employees in check throughout the year. According to Emplify, by collecting employee feedback, one organization managed to increase its production capacity by $3.8 million. Regular performance appraisals are crucial because your employees want to feel the company cares about them. They want to hear from their company about their overall performance. That’s why it’s important to arrange an ongoing performance review at regular intervals. 

You can conduct performance review surveys to prepare for the review. The survey includes different questions like things they’re proud of at work, their strengths and weaknesses, etc. Ask your employees to answer these questions to get an idea about their work performance. Evaluating their answers will tell you exactly where your employees need improvement. If required, you can bring changes to your organizational policies and programs. SurveySparrow is one such tool that allows you to craft engaging surveys without a hassle. With SurveySparrow’s survey software, you can conduct these performance assessments monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or annually. 

5. Face-to-Face Employee Evaluation

Sometimes face to face meetings can be exhausting, but these sessions are helpful to create a relationship on a personal level. Face to face employee evaluation meetings can form trust between your employees and managers. 

The first step to creating a face-to-face meeting is determining the evaluation’s purpose. Feedback doesn’t have to be all negative. It could be about an employee’s performance on a particular project, or a team’s performance on difficult tasks, etc. If you don’t inform the purpose of conducting face to face feedback, your employee may get overly concerned. 

Also, make sure your employees have enough time to prepare themselves before attending the performance review meeting. So, mention the purpose and schedule of the meeting beforehand. And, don’t forget to be honest while sharing feedback, even if it’s negative. Tell them to embrace the criticism and work on them for further improvement.

6. Net Promoter Score

Net promoter score is a great metric for employee performance review. Basically, NPS is a scale that represents numbers between 0 to 10. On a scale of 0-10, ask your respondents to give ratings on performance. For example, you can ask your customers to give a rating to a certain service provided by your company. If your customers feel satisfied with the service, you can reward your employees for providing excellent service. With an NPS rating, you can also conduct peer to peer feedback to evaluate performance.

You can uncover deeper insights using SurveySparrow's NPS software.
Uncover deeper insights using SurveySparrow’s NPS software.

7. Schedule Training 

Once you get a clear idea about your employees’ performance from the surveys and feedback, it’s time to act on the reviews. If you understand that your employees need improvement in a certain area, schedule training programs. This will allow them to improve their weak areas. Training and programs not only make your employees feel worthy, but it helps them to develop their skills and abilities. According to Linkedin Learning, 2018, 68% of employees prefer to train in their workplace. Also, approximately $1,286 was invested per employee in 2019. 

In most cases, employees stay with a company based on their training and development programs. Employees who receive training will better understand their roles and responsibilities. However, make sure to align your management goals with the training and development programs. If your management goals are to improve productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee productivity, then design training programs and conduct employee performance reviews accordingly.

8. Rewards for the Performance 

So, when you’re all done with the employee performance review, reward them properly. If one of your employees has achieved a milestone, or completed a project, make sure to celebrate their wins. Rewards will boost your employees’ mood and productivity. They’ll feel that your organization notices their efforts and hard work. In fact, simple rewards like offering a gift voucher, a team night out, or dinner or movie nights will make them feel valued and cared for. 

You can conduct a short survey to understand what benefits or rewards they like to receive. This way, the rewards program will be more engaging and appealing to each employee. 

Top 6 Tips to Evaluate Employees Performance Effectively

  • Be Specific: When you are setting a performance standard or goal for your employees, make sure to be specific. Instead of telling them to improve productivity or work hard, say “improve your team collaboration ability,” “improve your communication skill while attending a video conference,” or “learn to operate a new tool,” etc.
  • Be Honest and Realistic: Sometimes, managers tend to share only positive feedback with the employees to keep them happy. But, it’s important to share both positive and negative feedback when it comes to performance reviews. While sharing a review, you have, to be honest. So, they can focus on feedback and learn from them.

Similarly, it’s crucial to set realistic goals. If you set easy to achievable or unrealistic goals, employees will fall short of completing them. Also, if possible, provide proper deadlines for each goal. Deadlines will allow them to complete every goal on time.

  • Don’t Evaluate Personality: Judge an employee’s work performance, not their character. Focus on how accurately the employees are performing their roles instead of their traits. For instance, don’t evaluate traits like “immature,” “practical,” or “emotional.” Rather evaluate their performance based on a certain task or team meeting. 
  • Listen carefully: As we mentioned earlier, in the post-covid world, only performance reviews won’t help you. You have to ask your people about their health and work problems to better understand. If they face any problem in their job role, try to resolve it immediately. This will form a better bond between your employees and the organization.
  • Don’t compare employees: The primary goal of a performance review is to evaluate each employee’s work and effort. While reviewing performance, don’t compare the performance of your employees.
  • Ask specific questions: Conversation is the key to keep your employees emotionally connected with the organization. Conduct an online survey with a mix of performance and health-related questions to keep them in check. For instance: “What was your biggest challenge while working on a project,” “what new skills would you like to improve this year,” and “how are you coping with the current situation,” “what support or work adjustment you need,” etc.

Let’s Wrap Up..

However, with our performance review checklist, you’ll be on the road to creating an engaged workforce. This checklist not only helps you to enhance employee skills but also ensures company growth for the long-term. It will draw a positive picture of your employee mind, and they’ll feel valued and work more to achieve success. That means you can expect more productivity and less turnover. 

Lastly, remember that performance reviews aren’t a one-way road, where the employer’s review performance and employees listen to the feedback. In today’s world, you have to start a conversation to evaluate their performance. So, listen to your employees well and provide them great performance reviews that help them grow personally and professionally. 

Kate William

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

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